An ankle injury can be very disheartening to athletes or anyone who follow a regular fitness program. However, there are ways to speed the healing process and to keep your ankle from becoming stiff and swollen once you are cleared to use it. Learning some basic ankle injury exercises is very important.
Know Your Injury
Having a basic understanding of this injury is helpful. A sprained ankle occurs when the connective tissue that holds your bones together is damaged. This damage might mean a tear or other distress. These ligaments hold your ankle in place and stop it from becoming inverted. When the ligaments are pushed beyond their capacity the result is a sprained ankle. Most of the time people are lucky and only suffer a mild sprain. This is referred to as a Grade 1 sprain. When this happens you experience some pain, but your ankle is still functional. A Grade 2 sprain means you have damaged more of the fibers that make up your ligaments. This type of injury is more severe and you will not be able to walk normally. This is because the entire joint becomes unstable due to the damaged ligament. Finally, a Grade 3 sprain means there was a significant amount of damage done. When this happens, all of the fibers were damaged and the joint becomes significantly unstable.
Post Ankle Injury Exercises
Ankle exercises after sprain can help the healing process and maintain your range of motion. There are certain exercises that are commonly prescribed to patients who suffer from a sprained ankle. Make sure you consult with your doctor or other health care professional before starting any of them. Your individual circumstances may mean that these exercises are not best suited for you. To start, find a comfortable sitting position. These work best when you can prop your ankle up on something like a foot rest or ottoman. The following can be done 3 times a day, as long as there is no pain.
An initial exercise involves lifting the ankle up and down. Move it slowly, and only move as much as you can without experiencing pain. There should only be a slight amount of movement. Unless there is pain, aim for 10 to 20 repetitions.
It is also important to stretch the ankle. Use a towel or exercise band to help you. Sit on the floor with your leg out in front of you. Keep your knee straight and wrap the towel around the ball of your extended foot. Hold the ends of the towel in both hands and slowly pull your toes upward towards your head. Stop when you feel tension in your ankle or leg muscles. Hold for five seconds and release in a controlled manner. Repeat this 10 times as long as there is no pain.
Here is an example of what these exercises can look like. Obviously you should adjst the position of the band or towel to work the different parts of the ankle.
An additional exercise works you sideways range of motion. With your leg extended out, slowly move your ankle from side to side. Only go as far as you can without experiencing pain. Repeat this between 10 and 20 times.
Ankle Injury Prevention Exercises
To prevent injuries in the future, it is most beneficial to work on your balance and stability. Most of the time people sprain their ankles because they lose their footing, which places too much force on the ligaments. Practice balancing on one leg, staying near something stable so you can catch yourself if you start to fall. Basu Balls are great for balancing and can be easily used at home.
Ankle injury exercises can help you recover quickly. They will also prevent the usual stiffness and swelling from occurring once you can use the ankle again. To prevent this injury from happening in the future, work on your balance and stability.